Thursday, 28 February 2019

Straight Talk with Kurt Tong (26.2.2019) - Full Transcript

Straight Talk with Kurt Tong (26.2.2019) - Full Transcript
http://news.tvb.com/programmes/straighttalk/5c75430de6038315322124ee

MC: Hello I’m Michael Chugani and this is Straight Talk. With me today is the US Consul General, Mr Kurt Tong. Thank you very much. Now, Mr Consul General, you were here about a year ago. 

KT: About a year ago, yes. Thanks, Michael.

MC: In that year, a lot has happened. Since you last came, we’ve had the trade war, we’ve got legislative councillors who were disqualified, we’ve got a national anthem law and we have a congressional report that said we should reassess the Hong Kong Policy Act. I’m going to start off with the trade war because just yesterday President Donald Trump said okay, negotiations have gone well and he’s going to delay the tariffs for a while. Now, Mr Consul General, a lot of people say, critics say that the trade war was not necessary, and it was America’s way to try and suppress the rise of China. Would you say that was true?

KT: Well, thanks Michael and thank you for having me again this year. It’s been...I enjoyed...it’s a really good opportunity to have some dialogue. The situation with the ongoing trade negotiations, I would characterize it as “we’ve entered a second overtime”. We’ve had a brief first overtime for about two days and then the president, as you said, has indicated that he’s going to postpone raising US tariffs for a period of time while we have future negotiations. I think the US continues to have high expectations for these talks. There's a lot of very important structural issues that we’re now substantively engaged on. We have a clear agenda and there is a reason to think that we can actually have a significant breakthrough in improving the nature of the US-China economic relationships, which the US as you know had a lot of points of dissatisfaction with. So, I’m hopeful that these negotiations would go well and that is pretty much the intentions of the talks...the tariffs you know, are an action-forcing event. They focus the mind and they help China understand to the degree of which the US really consider these problems that are buildup in the nature of the US-China economic relationship to be very serious.

MC: Was it necessary? Because people say that it’s hurt both the US and it’s hurt China, it definitely has hurt Hong Kong, and that it could’ve been settled without tariffs, and that by imposing these tariffs, President Trump is trying to, I asked, again to suppress the rise of China.

KT: That’s clearly not the case. We’re not trying to suppress the rise of China, we’re trying to interest China and create incentive for China to focus on significant problems that are...

MC: Have they been playing unfair?

KT: Who?

MC: China. In trade.

KT: Yes. Absolutely. It’s been an unfair...
MC: In areas like technology transfer, forced technology transfer.

KT: Unfair and non-reciprocal on trading relationship in the way it’s been structured, and particularly, as with respect to technology and investment. So, we focus the mind through tariffs and have had negotiations. This is not uncommon in global commerce or trade negotiations. 

MC: Sure, now the thing is that I’m going to link that with the Huawei issue, with the arrest of a senior Huawei official. 

KT: Well, that’s the wrong thing to do, because they’re not linked.

MC: OK, they are not linked. But you know, it’s been said that the two are separate. I understand that but people, critics look at it as one whole thing. You’ve got the trade war, you’ve got the arrest of the Huawei official and then you’ve got the US trying to stop Huawei into dominating 5G. All these things combined…

KT: Well, critic... 

MC: ...will give people an impression that they’re trying to suppress the rise of China.

KT: Right, and those people, those critics are incorrect. There's no linkage between the Huawei technology issue, the specific case against Mrs Meng [sic] or the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations. These are separate things and that’s the way the real world works. Now, there’s a talking point that is being issued by the Chinese side that the United States is interested in containing or suppressing China.

MC: Right.

KT: That is a talking point also intended to create leverage and motivate people to…

MC: You’re not trying to do that? You’re not trying to do that? The US is not trying to do that?

KT: That’s right. We’re trying to resolve specific problems in specific ways using specific levers. When someone breaks the law, you have a law enforcement action. When there’s a technological risk, that will be considered debated and as you seen there's been a lot of countries considering the right way to deal with the risk mitigation, with respect to technologies coming out, particularly 5G. And in trade area, trade investment area, you have a negotiation. If you need to create leverage in order to have that negotiation, you create leverage and have a negotiation. This is how the real world works.

MC: Okay, I’m going to bring the issue back to Hong Kong now because we’re in Hong Kong and I think one of the things that concerns a lot of Hong Kong people, especially businesses in Hong Kong. Is that congressional report that came out that said that because they see Hong Kong’s autonomy is diminishing, perhaps it’s time to reassess to giving Hong Kong a special customs status, right? Now, you have said, Mr Consul General, that they’re not going to take...the US is not going to take back the Hong Kong Relations Act for the time being, is that right?

KT: So, the most important point to make is...and you’ve said all the way from trade negotiations to the Hong Kong Policy Act, there’s no relationship between those issues as well. 

MC: Yes, of course. It’s a separate issue.

KT: It’s entirely separate issues and the Hong Kong Policy Act is a piece of US legislation that allows the United States to treat Hong Kong differently than it treats the rest of China for purpose of the US law. That will continue as long as Hong Kong continues to be substantively autonomous in those various areas of US laws. So, I think...again it’s a much more legalistic, methodical, scientific conversation that is often portrayed. So...I think that we will issue another report again soon, coming out of the State Department, the consulate assisted in the creation of that. It will report the reality of Hong Kong…

MC: What is the reality, Mr Consul General?

KT: ...situation and autonomy. The reality is that Hong Kong continues in many ways, in many areas to enjoy a high degree of autonomy but there are issues on areas for concern, in particular this last year 2018 was not a particular good year for Hong Kong’s autonomy. There were signs for increasing pressure put on Hong Kong’s political space and some unfortunate events have happened in 2018 which created a sense that Hong Kong may be losing some of that grip on autonomy. So, I think the report is likely to reflect that fact but also will be fair in assessing the overall balance of the pros and cons with respect to autonomy. 

MC: I’m going to try and pin you down on that. Now, the last time you were here, you said that the emphasis seems to be less on autonomy and more on “One Country”. That’s what you said last time. Now, you’re saying a new report is coming out…

KT: It’s required by Congress…

MC: Sure, right. And things have happened, unfortunate things. I think what you meant was that you’ve had candidates being disqualified to run in elections, you’ve had a foreign journalist expelled for hosting a talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club by a pro-independence party. Then you’ve got people in Hong Kong saying free speech has limits, you cannot even talk about independence. You, when you were last here, you said, free speech is free speech, right? And as long as it’s peaceful, it should be allowed, right? Now, you are now saying that the new report, as required by law, will come out soon, and it will reflect these things. How strongly will it reflect these things that the autonomy is now under threat?

KT: Well, the report is yet to be issued. You know, I don’t want to lessen your enthusiasm for actually reading it when it comes out. But the point that matters is that I think there’s been a trend in the last few years and in 2018 in particular of emphasis on “One Country” in ways that impinged on the realization on the full benefits of “Two Systems”, and the autonomy, the high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy under the Basic Law.
So the thing that concerns me is that concern from the mainland side about politics in Hong Kong. Hong Kong politics is different than mainland politics and that’s… I understand that it’s uncomfortable for the mainland. But that kind of pressure that’s being applied can impact the political sphere in Hong Kong in a narrowing political space, that a deeper concern for US interests is that it could actually, over time, start to influence the economic spheres as well. And really this year, we’re experiencing… we’ve enjoyed the 175th anniversary of our consulate, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what our consulate is about, what the US presence is about in Hong Kong? When you really dig into it, a lot of it is about economic ties, trade, investments and business. And if that political atmosphere changes to a sufficient extent, it ends up hurting the business environment that would be very problematic I think for everyone involved, for the United States, for China, for Hong Kong people certainly and even for the region.

MC: Okay. Quick break. See you soon.

/////

MC: Thanks for staying with us. This is Straight Talk. With me is Mr Kurt Tong, he is the Consul General of the US. Now, Mr Tong, before the break, we talked about the US Policy Act, I think that’s one thing that concerns a lot of people in Hong Kong. And you did say that what concerns the US is that, as people see autonomy eroding, and more focus being put on “One Country”, rather than “Two Systems”, it could then spill to affecting business ties, the business atmosphere, and that concerns the US because you have got a lot of companies in Hong Kong that do business here, right?

KT: Yes. A huge presence.

MC: Exactly. Now, you know last year when you are here, you did say and I will say it again that you felt that emphasis is now more on “One Country” than “Two Systems”, and autonomy is eroding. A new report is coming out again, and I’m sure, even though you won’t tell me what it is, it is still being done, I don’t think that it will say “everything is fine”. I am sure it will say that “things are not fine”, right? Now, how much worse does it need to get before the US congress says “okay, now we must take a serious look at whether we should give Hong Kong special status”.

KT: So, there is no autonomy meter, right? And it’s not…

MC: That I do know, but Mr Consul General, you have said that…

KT: Let me…

MC: Okay.

KT: It’s not… so my point being that it is not a black or white question. And the report and what not will be very careful to be fact-based, to be careful and assessments, and make sure that we get our stories straight. The Hong Kong Policy Act provides a legal framework for a variety of activities and cooperation, application of US law, to the relationship between the United States and Hong Kong. The likely way that things will happen going forward is that there will be, some scrutiny of the various aspects of implementation of that law. And if there is autonomy in those areas of application, then it will continue just fine. And I expect that mostly the case in most areas going forward. In a specific area, bilateral activity, like say law enforcement cooperation, things are going great, Hong Kong is showing a high degree of autonomy, Hong Kong is acting like a “Two Systems” special place, then the US will continue to treat it as such.

MC: But what areas do you feel that autonomy is eroding? 

KT: Well, in the biggest implication, I think it’s in the political sphere again, that political activities have been constrained, you talked about some of the negative events with respect to the freedom of expression, over the past year…

MC: Will those things be…

KT: And that’s the concern. So that is the general background, and then when you consider the Hong Kong Policy Act and US-Hong Kong cooperation, in some ways it's more specific to various activities.

MC: Do you expect, I know this is like you don't know yet, but do you expect that when the report comes out, it will be more critical than the one before?

KT: Well, I think, given what I have told you about our assessment of the previous year, I think that could be the case, yes.

MC: It would be more critical than the one… because the one before drew a very angry response from Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, right? So, you said the new one coming out will be even worse? 

KT: It’s an uncomfortable thing for one government to make a report about the activities of another government.

MC: Sure.

KT: Or either the Hong Kong government or the mainland government. That’s an uncomfortable thing, people sometimes react to that. I get it, we are required by law because of these special circumstances of “One Country, Two Systems”. And being allowed under US law to apply these special positive aspects of a unique relationship.

MC: Well, I’ll ask you…

KT: We are required to report on it, and we will report on it, and people might not like what we say, but we…

MC: But it’s the US law, so you report on it, right? Now, I am going to ask you one more question, and then I will move on. Now, you think the report will be worse than the one, well, more critical than the one last year, right? Okay, fine. Now, can I assume that it will be more critical because in that year, you have had candidates being disqualified, you have had a journalist being expelled, you have had a political party being banned, and then the insistence that you cannot even talk peacefully about independence, if you do you will no longer be able to run for elected office again. Are these the things that will make the report more critical? 

KT: You have cited some important examples of what we would consider negative trends in autonomy in Hong Kong’s political space.

MC: So those were the issues that will make the report more critical? 

KT: Again, I hope you look forward to reading it.

MC: But then the point will not be reached. In your opinion, as Consul General, the point will not be reached for the Congress to say “we are going to take away the Policy Act”?

KT: Well, the act will require another act of Congress to change, and I haven’t seen anyone suggest that.

MC: Alright, okay. Now, I am going to move on. We have got another thing here now that a lot of controversies, an extradition proposal from the government, stemming from an alleged murder case in Taiwan, involving a Hong Kong person.

KT: Right.

MC: Now, you know, the funny thing is a lot of people in Hong Kong, politicians saying “fine, let’s have one with Taiwan”, but they’re worried about having one with mainland China, right? And the reason being that if you allow that, then Beijing can demand to have this or that person to be extradited for political reasons, right? Now, the US and China, you do have a treaty, right, the US and China, you have a…

KT: No.

MC: You do have one.

KT: With Hong Kong.

MC: With Hong Kong? Not with… I am sorry, yes. You have one with Hong Kong, but not with mainland.

KT: Because of the Hong Kong Policy Act…

MC: Exactly, right.

KT: and “One Country, Two Systems”.

MC: And that came about 20 something years ago with Hong Kong, right? 

KT: We had one predating the handover, but that agreement is remained enforced, again because of the Hong Kong Policy Act allowing us to do that.

MC: So, are you worried that you have one with Hong Kong, and then if Hong Kong said “could you please extradite this person to Hong Kong?”, is the US worried that if Hong Kong has one now with mainland China, then that person upon arriving in Hong Kong, the Chinese government can say “we want that person over there”. Does that worry you?

KT: Well, here is the thing, I am going to give you a careful answer on this, I think the details in this kind of thing really matter, and so I am not prejudging the likely outcome of Hong Kong’s deliberation about what to do with respect to fugitive transfer, vis-a-vis mainland, vis-a-vis Taiwan, and also I don’t want to prejudge what the US reaction would be, because it really depends upon the details and how these things are implemented, in terms of the carve-outs protection for individuals, and with respect to possible fugitive transfer or extradition. So, we will just have to wait and see. There is a possibility that if it is structured in certain ways, then that could have some impact on the implementation of our bilateral arrangement between the United States and Hong Kong. But I don’t want to prejudge that.

MC: Sure.

KT: We are just going to wait and see what happens.

MC: Okay. We have just got a couple more minutes. The Greater Bay Area, some details have been announced. Yet again people say that this is going to even further worsen Hong Kong’s autonomy. Does that worry you?

KT: I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

MC: Do you think it will?

KT: I honestly don’t know. I have carefully read the framework that was announced. Let me put a more positive spin on it. I think the Greater Bay Area initiative does create some significant opportunities to reestablish momentum around the reform and opening process for the Chinese economy, using once again, as was the case 40 years ago, and during that 40-year Reform and Opening period, we have heard so much about lately, that to use south China as a place that shows the way to the rest of China, in terms of economic reform and opening. So, a Greater Bay Area initiative that would most excite foreign businesses as well as foreign governments would be one that, in a sense, pushes reform and opening process and the kind of global best practices and rules-based systems that are prevalent in Hong Kong and Macao into Guangdong. That would be great.

MC: Not the other way around?

KT: That would create enormous opportunities for foreign business as well as Hong Kong businesses, as well as mainland businesses, everyone would be happy. So, I really think that, again, the devil is in the details on this, and there weren’t that many details so far. They haven’t announced.

MC: Yeah, they are working on the details.

KT: And if at the end of the day, it’s just some slogans and some bridges, then that’s kind of a neutral outcome, it doesn’t really help open up China, but it also doesn’t really pose a big problem for Hong Kong.

MC: Okay. I have got one minute left. The last time you were here, I asked you free speech is free speech, and you said you can use it even if you promote independence as long as it’s peacefully done. Do you still stand by that?

KT: Well, that’s our approach in the United States. There has been a lot of discussion around flags and anthems of late, and in the United States, you can burn flags or misbehave during the national anthem, people don’t like it when you do it, it’s considered impolite, and not good. 

MC: So free speech is free speech, even for independence?

KT: Certainly, it’s legally protected, free speech.

MC: But for Hong Kong, you think it should be allowed, you can speak about independence peacefully?

KT: Well, our interpretation of freedom of expression is that it’s a boundless thing, and people should be allowed to express themselves as long as they are not specifically hurting another person.

MC: Okay, I have got to end it right there. Thanks. See you next week. Good evening.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Lewis Loud: Love for China Complex

Love for China Complex
Translated by Karen L, edited by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by Lewis Loud
Original: https://thestandnews.com/politics/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E6%83%85%E7%B5%90%E7%B3%BE%E7%B5%90%E7%9A%84-%E9%96%8B%E6%98%8E%E6%B4%BE-%E5%8F%AA%E6%9C%83%E5%8A%A9%E9%95%B7%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E6%AE%96%E6%B0%91/ 

During the winter peak flu season, Hong Kong doctors called for the abolition of the one-way permit scheme, as the family reunification (which allows 150 mainlanders to settle here daily) has overloaded the city’s health care system. It was not to incite hatred against mainlanders, but to voice discontent with manpower shortage.

It is expected to see organizations specifically serving new arrivals from China against the advocation of the medical staff, as well as to see some of the leftists take the opportunity to suggest importing more manpower from China.

Those fence-sitters could get along so long as the policy does not screw them over in a rather direct way. Most of these people choose to accept what the reality offers (the overcrowding problem in Hong Kong) however unpleasant it is, for it is a hot potato for anyone while turning a blind eye to it requires no effort.
("To reduce immigrants at the source." Gary Fan,
Claudia Mo, Roy Tam and Chapmen Tsang in front.)

The overpopulation caused by mainland migrant influx has been left unresolved for years. Early in 2013 when New Territories was first overrun by parallel traders, acrimonious debate over ‘cutting people from the source of immigration’ had divided the pan-democracy camp. Gary Fan, Claudia Mo and Roy Tam proved themselves non-rubber-stamped as they saw through the ‘family reunification’ presents the ideology placing mainland Chinese before anyone else. In other words, it is Chinese nationalism/patriotism.

From the 1989 Tian'anmen Square protests to the status quo, the development of Hong Kong politics has attached to ‘the love for China’. Though it is high time politicians on people’s mandate should break silence over the deadlock Hongkongers are facing, they could not preserve our Hong Kong if it means to upset mainlanders. Hongkongers’ well-being is long forgotten; all we hear nowadays are concerns about “this is just what the CCP hopes for” or “that would provoke the CCP”.

To pro-Beijing camp, the inflow of one-way permits holders serves the crucial purpose of national security to assimilating Hong Kong into China. Sharing the “general consensus”, pro-democracy camp tends to stand on the moral high ground, emphasizing how inhumane to compromise Chinese people’s benefits. If it occurs to you that actual allocation of resources is not included in the equation, it is because the camp has never been given real power to rule. The shady past of the “democracy campaigns” presupposes a conflict with local people and their interest. Though at the very inception it was the prospect of a democratic China that motivated them, there from the process derives the community rooted for Hong Kong itself which now comes to stand in the way of these Chinese nationalists. The beginning should predict the ending.

In this context of history, a Chinese idiom precisely describes pan-democracy camp’s political standing. Translated into “be spat on the face and let the spittle dry”, it suggests their fate-resigning mindset under Hong Kong’s political reality mingled with the “Chinese” self-identification that hails CCP in trusting it to be orthodox for the conception of China. Thus it explains why many of them are not convinced that Hong Kong is being invaded at the time of speaking, and is going to be handled as another Xinjiang, Tibet and Mongolia. It can also be found in them the chauvinism that generalizes neighbouring countries that can be traced back to the same ancestry to a part of one great China, the prerequisite of disapproving Hong Kong Independence by all means, and so forth.

Career politicians in Hong Kong are acquainted with the fact that crying out for “democracy” and “human rights” keep their seats; at the least such statement would not get them disqualified from the elections. Despite the former has no foreseeable future, the latter, namely Chinese migrants’ human rights, can be satisfied almost effortlessly with the solicitous help from pro-Beijing camp. Cases in point abound in public housing, social welfare, and this time medical services. Their love of China was respected during the colonial period, but with resources taken into account today, it has turned them into accomplices to exploiting Hongkongers’ welfare to the full. 

Under British rule, we used to honour democracy, freedom and human rights. Common virtues as such, sadly, have been rendered to some classic textbook examples in Critical Thinking 101. Sooner or later, the magic of verbal fallacies will fade and inevitably those “democracy-oriented” politicians’ influences will be overridden by their hardcore loyal pro-Beijing counterparts. A tragedy it is, but a sure price to pay with neither genuine Hong Kong identity nor support from China.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Yu Jie: “One Country, Two Systems” Lover and “Father of Democracy” Reveal Oxymoron

“One Country, Two Systems” Lover and “Father of Democracy” Reveal Oxymoron
Translated by Karen L, written by Yu Jie 余杰
Original: https://hk.thenewslens.com/article/112981 

When Martin Lee, “father of democracy” in Hong Kong, was interviewed in Taiwan, he commented that CCP shall consider reverting to the original blueprint for “One Country, Two Systems” as its tightening control over Hong Kong is costing Hongkongers’ sense of belonging and has slowed down the advancement of the system in Taiwan.

For a veteran politician and barrister, Martin Lee’s behind-the-times remark was so embarrassing that it cannot even level with those pseudo-reformists in mainland China. Trapped in a Sinocentrism/democratic-reunification ideology, he has lost touch on the pulse of China, Taiwan and his home Hong Kong. His time must have been frozen either before 1997 or 1989 to have granted him untainted confidence to such lovely speech. His past contributions and achievements are respected, but his speeches and actions preventing the new generation to move forward have made him an unjustifiable “father of democracy”.

Asking a Tiger for Its Skin
It is in Marin Lee’s ideal that “Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong”, “a high degree of autonomy” and “maintaining Hong Kong’s way of life largely unaltered for 50 years” are duteously embodied in Deng Xiaoping’s “One Country, Two Systems”. He added that Hong Kong people is losing faith in today’s central government as it goes back on its words and changes everything in Hong Kong. Living under the “great purge” in Xi Jinping’s regime, many, Martin Lee included, shows the very picture of missing the good old days, seemingly undisturbed by Deng Xiaoping’s doing in the Tian'anmen Massacre 30 years ago.

The true nature of Deng Xiaoping is somehow embellished in Martin Lee’s thought. Xi Jinping’s leadership is despotism; so does Deng Xiaoping’s. Taking stock of the situation, the two paramount leaders have strategies employed differently from each other. In times of Deng Xiaoping, China was not yet one of the world’s most powerful countries, and it was still busying befriending everyone there was. He would be willing to sugarcoat the country’s ultimate goal just to wheedle Hongkongers into embracing the idea of Handover. Today, in the era of Xi Jinping, a would-be rise of power, the leader could not care less about throwing down the gauntlet to Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Xi Jinping was in fact going full steam ahead, not backward, to what Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have planned for the future of China.

On 4 June 1989, it was by Deng Xiaoping’s direct order that the tanks and machine guns were brought in the Square to suppress the protests. He can be called a killer, murderer or butcher, causing the death of thousands of people on the spot without batting an eyelash. If he was to be trusted and given full recognition, holding the memorials year by year would be shooting the participants themselves in the foot.

Xi, Proud of Being a Dictator
“I believe Xi Jinping is wise enough to tell that violence is not the way out,” Martin Lee optimistically said as he appealed to the central government for implementing genuine democracy in Hong Kong. This could showcase, as Martin Lee suggested, Xi Jinping as an open-minded reformist leader. A fine line between being naïve/innocent and over-confident/narcissistic catches Martin Lee off guard, making him switch back and forth from a “patriotic remonstrator” to an “animal trainer”, and vice versa.

Similar examples are found throughout the history. There was Qu Yuan during the Warring States period of ancient China who felt extreme despair to the then political situation and took his own life as a form of expostulation. It was his point-blank refusal to admitting tyrant in authority that led to his “sacrifice”.

On an ancient Chinese text Han Feizi’s account, a man named Bian He found an invaluable piece of jade in Chu’s mountains, and made his offer to King Li of Chu. The King thought it was a mere stone, so he punished Bian He by having his left foot cut off. When Wu came to the throne, Bian He once again offered his jade to the King and ended up having his right foot cut off. Years later, Wu’s heir Wen was informed of Bian He’s grieving with tears for three days and three nights, and he sent his man to question Bien He. “I’m not grieving for my feet. I’m grieving for the wrongs that a precious jade is called a regular stone, as a loyal subject is called a liar,” Bian He replied. Possibly moved by his words, King Wen of Chu had his jeweler cut open the stone and surprisingly found a piece of pure jade inside. Upon seeing it, the King named the He Shi in honour of Bian He.

Yet from my years of study, the Xi Jinping Martin Lee has hoped for has come too far to being another King Wen of Chu. Gambling a pair of feet on such a leader does not have much chance to secure a promising future.

Hong Kong Independence Represents a Bright Time to Come
On the issue of Hong Kong independence, Martin Lee deviated from the spirit of rule of law to separate independence as a major part of democracy. The rise of such idea, in his understanding, can be explained by the lack of belief in “a handful of people” to strive for democracy in the democrats’ discipline. Without the central government’s approval and support, independence is “impossible to attain” and “not an option for Hong Kong”. All these get one to wonder what the “father of democracy” or his preferred “grandfather of democracy” is made of when he is convinced that the fruits of democracy can grow without the tree.

In Martin Lee’s theory, independence is like a pillow that disappointed Hongkongers fall on and shed tears on; if not under CCP’s oppression, there will be no need for the negativity-soaked pillow. More and more people beg to disagree as independence mirrors the entitled self-determination of any district plainly stated in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The awakening of the independence movement in Hong Kong shares the noble values with the rest of the world. It will be best for Hong Kong if and only if Hong Kong cuts ties with China.

Culturally and politically speaking, waves of hardships are to be encountered head-on and we shall stay strong. And there is still a long way to go before the campaign of Hong Kong independence surpasses theoretical grounds and propagation. Active exertions from our own kind are sufficient, while the realization of independence does not come easily unless big changes in the international environment (e.g. China’s disintegration) are involved.

If Martin Lee still feels that independence in Hong Kong stands without a chance, he might want to take a look at Edmund Burke’s speech on the Thirteen Colonies. When the Proclamation of Rebellion was issued to order officials “to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress the colonial revolt”, the then member of the British Parliament criticized, “What advances have we made towards our object, by the sending of a force, which, by land and sea, is no contemptible strength? Has the disorder abated? Nothing less.” Burke was aware that “the removal of the causes of this Spirit of American Liberty be, for the greater part, or rather entirely, impracticable.” And he added, “I should hold myself obliged to conform to the temper I found universally prevalent in my own day, and to govern two million of men, impatient of Servitude, on the principles of Freedom.” These are what a “father of democracy” should have said to Xi Jinping.

Someday when most of Hong Kong is equipped with the “prevalent temper” that is “impatient of Servitude”, our home will make impressive strides in resisting China’s tyranny. By then, Hong Kong independence will be a feasible vision.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Lewis Loud: “HK's Father of Democracy” Not So Democratic After All

“HK's Father of Democracy” Not So Democratic After All
Translated by Karen L, written by Lewis Loud
Original: https://www.upmedia.mg/news_info.php?SerialNo=57126&fbclid=IwAR3XxwdJyEAopOcVAJpkUF0NrKCo3vBGoyHrqnwQpoTlcyHPD5xhW6Bki-o 
[Summary, not full translation]
(Photo courtesy: Citizen News/Ho Kwan-kin)
The deep-seated scholar-official tradition sanctifying “impress the emperor for practising the scholar's ideals” (dejun xingdao) is in another dimension where the populace of a country is given trust to contribute oneself to examining the political reality. To this day, the pro-democracy camp is more of incompetent yet loyal courtiers in imperial China; they give advice but know their place enough not to get “over the line”. The “democracy” they have been pursuing is a bestowment from the holy CCP rather than a common effort people would assume. Denying self-determination and separation, they are insulting the spirit of democracy, making themselves peers to the Pro-Beijing camp.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, the “Father of Democracy”, too, expressed his presumption on many occasions that the Hong Kong Independence bandwagon would calm so long as Xi Jinping returned to Deng Xiaoping’s leadership style and restored the democracy under “One Country, Two Systems”, though it never seems to occur to Lee that CCP would be more welcomed to flash its winning card to Hong Kong people than handing over real power and acting as a titular head. Considering that missile tests were launched by CCP at the time when Taiwan had its first direct presidential election in the history, it goes without saying that they are aware that democracy in real terms IS independence. 

Imagining that there is a directly elected HKSAR government which is genuinely responsible to Hong Kong people, certain policies (e.g. dealing with the population overload) will be regulated so as to protect the benefits of the citizens. Fair decisions as such will compromise China’s interest for its part; granting Hong Kong democracy, therefore, remains to be a far-fetched hope.

It is the self-proclaimed democrats’ superficial knowledge over Chinese culture that leads them to believe Deng Xiaoping’s “relatively moderate” leadership is the way out. Not knowing that China’s political philosophy has long been an infinite loop—the means of winning is not necessarily about being just and honourable, but ironically enough, those are employed as counter-argument when one loses—democrats conveniently take the old practice of Deng Xiaoping for the solution. However undogmatic he might seem to be, Deng Xiaoping did what he had to sustain CCP’s power. The illusional freedom and open social environment that followed were by-products after all for he had decided to settle them by violence. Even though being high up in the rank, the leaders in China are merely pawns under the development of the country. Someone assertive has to follow up what Deng Xiaoping has left behind, and the person can be others if not Xi Jinping.

“One Country, Two Systems”, by the same token, does not exist to preserve Hong Kong’s special status, but as a buffer to gradual assimilation (Basic Law provides that the current system will remain unchanged for 50 years and the details stay ambiguous). The democrats could let out a spate of nonsense and mislead us the policy is entitled to autonomy, but it still does not change the fact that the failure of the policy in our eyes is what it is meant to be.

Embracing the unification of the country, these “democrats” centre on moral judgment, but no practical problems like resource allocation. Martin Lee is no difference, and he would advise Hong Kong people in earnest not to exclude people from mainland China in discussions. But then again, isn’t it the people from mainland China who are the ones occupying our limited living space? Really, do we ever have a say in this?

Even the “liberal” politicians would call for Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, from which you can tell what is referred to as “liberal” is not liberal, and what is called “democracy” is a fake one. Sinocentrism had prevailed during the development of ancient China, and now, modern China is going backward to hail despotism as the ultimate solution. Nothing changes.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Lunar New Year Message from Chris Patten, HK Governor in 1995

1995年香港總督彭定康農曆新年賀辭
Read by Christopher PATTEN, Cantonese voiceover by CHUNG Wai-ming

你哋好。一年就快過去,另外一年亦都來臨,而家喺我哋同家人同親友歡聚一堂嘅時候,我相信大家都會花多啲時間,想一想喺過去一年裡便,我哋認為做得滿意嘅事,包括我哋真正喜歡做嘅事、一齊分享過嘅趣事以及合力實現嘅理想。我哋亦會展望新嘅一年,想到一切我哋希望做嘅事、希望付諸實行嘅明智決定同埋希望成功完成嘅工作。

當我哋為家人想到要做嘅事嘅時候,相信我哋亦同樣為社會設想,為香港呢個美好嘅城市設想。喺過去一年,雖然偶然有波折,但係我哋仍然能夠一一咁應付到。而且我相信,喺世界其他地方,差不多冇人應付得好過我哋。

經濟問題困擾住整個世界,但係香港喺過去幾十年來一直都能夠應付裕如,而且可以講係傲視同儕添。點解?其實幾份報章同雜誌,以及美國智囊團,喺舊年發表嘅意見,都可以為我哋提供部分嘅答案。佢哋有啲將香港稱為全世界最有利於營商嘅城市,有啲稱讚香港係全世界最自由嘅經濟體系,又有啲認為香港係全世界競爭最激烈嘅地方之一。香港市民實力十足,勇於進取,刻苦耐勞,為香港創造好多優越條件,使我哋嘅經濟每年都持續增長。雖然其他地方都要面對種種問題,但係我哋仍然能夠撥出資源去做我哋想做嘅事。

我哋已經睇到舊年嘅部分工作成果,我哋目睹各項社會計劃不斷發展,尤其是喺培育青少年方面,我哋更加係不遺餘力,我相信呢個係你哋極為重視,亦都係香港前途嘅所繫。我哋將更多嘅資源用喺發展幼稚園、中小學、專上學院、訓練學校同大學嘅教育上。為咗確保青少年能夠獲得最佳嘅機會,呢方面嘅投資係至為重要嘅。

但係,我哋亦都為年老嘅市民設想,並且為佢哋提供更多嘅服務。我哋年長嘅親友為香港締造繁榮,因此佢哋應該享受香港今日嘅豐碩成果。佢哋應該同我哋一齊分享我哋嘅卓越成就。

金錢唔係生命中唯一最重要嘅嘢,我相信人人都希望心境安寧,因此努力使香港成為一個非常安全嘅居住地方。喺呢方面,我哋做得出色過其他地方,但係我哋唔會因此自滿。香港有出色嘅警隊,我希望佢哋經常獲得應有嘅資源同支持,你哋透過參與撲滅罪行委員會等嘅工作,給予警隊好多支持。喺我哋嘅努力之下,香港會繼續係亞太區,甚至係全球其中一個最安全嘅地方。

呢啲係過去嘅事。將來又點樣?我哋仍然需要確保香港嘅經濟能夠繼續使我哋獲得理想中嘅生活同水平。我哋仍然要不斷發展各項社會計劃。我認為我哋喺新嘅一年仲要注意幾件非常重要嘅事。首先,法治係使香港出類拔萃同取得卓越成就嘅原因之一。我哋訂立嘅公平規則,適用於每一個人,不論佢係乜嘢身分,就算係總督都要遵守。呢種法治精神,亦都令香港成為一個特別適合營商嘅理想地方,並且提供一種團結社會嘅力量,使社會更加穩定同繁榮。

我哋都知道我哋需要肩負歷史任務,盡量使香港喺一九九七年成功過渡。對我哋嚟講,呢項係艱鉅嘅任務。但係我哋希望能夠同中方官員有更佳嘅合作,取得更好嘅成績。因為如果能夠成功完呢一項偉大而獨特嘅任務,將香港主權移交中國,對我哋各方面都有好處。

相信各位都知道,每一個星期我都會花費好多時間巡視各區,探訪屋邨、學校、醫院、工廠以及其他不同嘅地方。我想真係睇到差不多香港嘅每一樣事物,有時仲去勻香港嘅每一個地方添。舊年,我巡視各區嘅時候,得到各位親切迎迓,盛情款待,我要借呢個機會向你哋致謝。

我未必同你哋每一位都見過面,但係有時我覺得大家好似見過面,對於我喺過去一年未曾有機會同各位相遇過嘅市民,我謹祝你哋喺新嘅一年萬事如意、身體健康。

我殷切盼望能夠喺新嘅一年有機會同各位見面。喺呢度,我謹代表內子同女兒,恭祝全港市民新年快樂。我深信,我哋都期望香港以及我哋嘅家園喺豬年事事順遂,心想事成。恭喜發財。

At the end of one year, and the beginning of the other, all of us, when we are gathered together [inaudible] family and loved ones [inaudible] in the previous year. Things we really enjoy [inaudible] together. We realized together [inaudible] look forward to a new year [inaudible] succeeded and [inaudible] about. For our families, [tbc]

Friday, 1 February 2019

Two letters from Party of Liberty and Democracy H.K. in Mid-1970s

Two letters from Party of Liberty and Democracy H.K. in Mid-1970s
[note: Spellings in English are kept even they are wrong, but Chinese part is mostly corrected.]
香港自由民主黨
九龍彌敦道六六二號六及頂樓長沙灣信箱一〇五〇一號
662 Nathan Road 5/F.

DEAR CITIZEN:-
BRIEF MANIFESTO 1972
INTRODUCTION: The Party is established at 4.2.1965 which we consider attemps to justify when colonial govt. habitually steamrolles Hongkong legislation/execution where no elected legislators/senators represent 5-6 millions people – dictatorship and depriven to instead for long time. In Hongkong the laws grind the poor and the rich man rule the law. A minority of vested interest that have in no way represented the people/materialistic public they claim to. They use the name of the people, it is true, but only to protect their own “sphere of influence” — like jealous vultures. It is obvious that colonialism and democracy can never be deemed compatible in any senses during the past. Colonialism (C.S./G.S./Chief Secretary = more Hypocrite) inconsistency with democratic principles only proves its worthlessness and should be discarded now. Violent demonstrations must be avoided as well as possible to us to fight for the bright future to Hongkong and its people.

AIMS OF THE PARTY: In accordance with good spirits of UN charter, Decision of De-colonialism of United Nations, Declaration of Universal Human Rights, Int’l. Laws and the British Policy etc. that both are tally with modern time and tide for de-colonialism in anyways also as well as the Queen Elizabeth II’s speeches before which emphasised as “We'll be allowing and aiding self-determination areas and people’s choice colonies to their final requests for self-government or independence which to ending the colonialism” thus we are strongly to be requesting the “Internal Self-Government" for Hongkong right now for betterment and constitutional reform to eradicate the serious evils in our community with a more helpful future for Hongkong and it’s people. (Formally request already made to Queen E-II, Prime Minister and the Hong Kong government on 1.1.1973 but long silent to now?!)

TOWARD CIVIC RIGHTS (TEMPORARILY STAGE): Problems must be dealt with by the local people, but the means to solves the problems are denied to 5-6 millions people/silent majority plus the hugh but heavily depriven and and oppression from the colonialism evils with nonsenses here nowaday so only the more and active civil-rights campaigns can save us during present situation with prices existed: this what is the Party’s “FOR PEOPLE COMMISSION” done for materialistic public now. The “FOR PEOPLE COMMISSION” works mainly involves helping people with various problems, such as resite, rehousing, compensation, living-on protection, welfare advancement, civic-rights expressing …….. especially ranging from those hut/cottage areas, hawker areas, fisherman areas …. and the outdated lower courts which lead to gross injustices within the impropriety and oppressiveness of criminal investigation and prosecution systems which already ruined many other innocent people before and after. We do our best to help them through civic-rights forms but under “struggle for existence“ as understood so fair-play is appreciated.

TOWARD SELF-GOVERNMENT: (INDIRECT/DIRECT ELECTIONS; PAID PART/FULL TIME SERVICES): The Party is a strong advocate of “INTERNAL SELF-GOVERNMENT” in Hong Kong as it is the only way to cooperate. What must be done now – which has been wilfully neglected over the years – is to educate or join the people to the benefits of self-government. There is no other course open to us, obviously that applications we may need to get units at R/Es. and resite areas for welfare advancement even for public opinion surveys or seats for suffrage/franchise which both received refusals to instead, save that of either taking a retrograde step by enforcing colonialism still further – entrenching? – or taking the path of violent demonstrations to achieve the means to implement self-government. There are those, however, that are convinced that direct action rather that education and peaceful reform is the way to change our community better – like the liberal and democratic ones – a place to belong with better living!

LDP-HK GENERAL: Organisation at a glance what's the shadow-cabinet as shown in the chart attached. Membership up to 1976 is 1,200 approx. and the fixed platforms will be enlarging as soon as possible within the branches established (more donation means more civil rights) as most of members is Chinese and they have to involved for China Unity basically so the party forces to such tendency as well too. Overseas fraternity/relationship and international friendship now are exchanged. The political future is bright and fine!
====
公函 一九七六年四月六日

  敬啟者:恭賀 閣下以眾望所歸榮選為英國新首相,本黨相信 鈞座定能貫徹大英精神且輔以前首相邱吉爾爵士為榜樣而力挽國內急劇危機的。
  與此同時之香港種種剝壓雖然官方強調要保持現狀及與北京修好,但在良心道義上和葡殖澳門之進步情形相比實是太不成比例了,簡直是殘民以逞且充滿殖民地罪行的;為了本港全民最高利益與前途着想,本黨重申要求先把內治權好好扶植而逐步還政於民,為歷史所褒。最少限度應不禁制民權及參政機會的,順請垂注本黨與布政司檔號COU1058/75,民政司檔號HAIB1156/4和環境司檔號ENV68/75/19等全皆為虐待本黨及扼殺剝奪民意民權的,望有以德政加披之!
  願見在閣下領導下,澤及四方,無遠不屆。
  此 致
英首相卡拉漢先生

自由民主黨黨主席甄錫文謹啟


====
(Translation)
Party of Liberty & Democracy H.K.
662 Nathan Road, 5th floor, Kowloon.

6th April 1976.
Mr James Callaghan,
British Prime Minister.

Dear sir,
Please accept our congratulations on your success in the election as the new British Prime Minister reflecting the esteem and support of the public. We trust that you will follow the example of the late prime minister Winston Churchill in furthering the British spirit, to save the country from imminent internal crises.

At present in Hong Kong there exists exploitation and suppression in various forms. The Government has stressed that it will maintain the status quo and better its relations with Peking but, contentiously and morally speaking, Hong Kong cannot compare with the Portuguese colony of Macau as far as progress is concerned. The Government is cruel to the people and there are numerous colonial crimes. For the best interests and future of all the Hong Kong people, our party reiterates that the internal governing power be upheld and returned step by step to the people and this will be honoured in history. At least the government should not suppress the people's rights and deprive the citizens of the opportunity to take part in the administration.

We would like to draw your attention, to the correspondence we have received from the Colonial Secretariat, File No. COU 1058/75, Secretary for Home Affairs, File No. HAIB 1156/4 and Secretary for the Environment, File No. ENV 68/75/9. This correspondence ill-treats our Party and suppresses the people, depriving them of their opinion and rights.

Sir, we earnestly hope that the British Government, under your leadership, will extend its benevolent far and wide.

CHIU But-yeuk
Chairman
Party of Liberty & Democracy H.K.
[note: the letter is from YAN Sik-man, not CHIU But-yeuk]
====
公函 一九七五年四月廿日
  敬啟者.陛下今次將於五月四日不遠千里而來,定有利香港乎。報載 陛下躬親勤政,日理萬機而富有傳統性的責任感及美德特徵,令人感動惜未能扱及英聯邦外的遙遠角落如香港是也,因我們七百多萬民眾還處此變本加厲、苛征重稅和假自由不民主且有非人生活式的英殖民地殘留劣態故能不為靜默的大多數或香港整體前途有感而發致有所反映且力為爭取乎。
  際此國際形勢大變而殖民地主義定要修善立功以贖前愆與中和清算前提下,加上本港民間冤情太重,好人難做與民不聊生多式惡性循環積壓中,後果不堪收拾的。為此,本黨用特籲請 陛下仁慈且例外地的誠意去考慮委任一個民間參政組織表現之「英皇御准護民使」一位予本黨之護民署,並賦有職權,一如古羅馬帝國朝代所設之護民官一樣。這實可媲美港督委派之「廉政專員」官方代表而能互相呼應,俾益民怨民生,如本願照准,良可賀也!
  最後提請陛下顧全在世界各大報章刊明之國會多次鄭重聲明表示決順乎當地民向民意而結束所有殖民地之演詞而諾許本黨在一九七三年元旦向 陛下要求之讓本港成立內政上之「香港自治政府」罷!另方面即終止對本黨歷來之歧視,幕後破壞及延誤壓制等致窒息公意民權,以昭公平和有風度!同時不應由老殖民地國如葡萄牙近來新作風專美於前啊!
  願陛下皇恩浩蕩地好意駕臨而自動化福德本港前途
  此致
英女皇伊利莎白二世
自由民主黨總裁趙不弱 主席甄錫文聯呈
(註:扱及疑為报及,即佈及的錯字。)
====
Party of Liberty & Democracy H.K.
P.O. Box 10501, Cheung Sha Wan Post Office.
21st April, 1975.

OFFICIAL LETTER

To: H. M. Queen Elizabeth II

Your Majesty,
          Your Majesty's visit to Hong Kong on 5th May from thousands of miles will definitely be beneficial to Hong Kong. According to press reports, Your Majesty is diligent and takes a personal interest in the administration, dealing with thousands of cases a day. Your traditional sense of responsibility and virtue are certainly most admirable. However, it is a pity that your beneficence does not reach remote corners of the British Commonwealth such as Hong Kong. We, over seven million (sic) citizens of Hong Kong, are still living in a British colony subject to lingering evils of exorbitant taxes, pseudo-liberty without democracy, where some people are still living inhuman lives, which are worsening daily. We cannot help but endeavour to reflect the views of the silent majority and on the whole future of Hong Kong.
          The major premise is the present great change in the international scene, which demands that colonialism be revised to atone for the past wrongs and to neutralise the effects of liquidations. Furthermore, there are numerous cases of grievances in Hong Kong. It is difficult to leave a decent life, and people are confronted with economic hardship and the pressure of vicious circle. The consequences will be disastrous. Therefore, we request Your Majesty to kindly depart from the usual practice and graciously consider the appointment of a "Royal Commissioner for the protection of the people" to the People's Protection Bureau of this Party, a people's political body. This commissioner will be endowed with powers similar to the tribunes of the ancient Roman Empire. He will compare favourably with the Independent Commission Against Corruption who is the government representative. It will certainly be a blessing, if this wish can be granted, so that they can render mutual support in order to redress people’s grievances.
          Lastly, we beg Your Majesty to take into consideration the several statements made by the Parliament, expressing is the termination of giving up all the colonies in compliance with the wish of the local peoples. These statements were published in the leading newspapers of the world. We also beg your majesty to accede to our request made on New Year's Day in 1973 of the establishment of an autonomous government in Hong Kong. On the other hand, discriminatory actions against this Party, sabotage, obstruction and suppression behind the scene to strangle civil rights and public opinion should be put to an end immediately so as to show impartiality and generosity. Meanwhile we suggest Your Majesty should not let the enlightenment of such old colonial countries as Portugal, to dominate the whole scene.
          We do wish Your gracious presence here would bring blessings to Hong Kong.

Yours respectfully,
Jointly presented by 
CHIU Put-yeuk (President)
(Signature )
YAN Sik-man (Chairman)
(Chop) 

Monday, 3 December 2018

[DQ in Rural Rep Election] Eddie Chu Hoi-dick’s response after being DQed from running 2019 rural ordinary election

Eddie Chu Hoi-dick’s response to English press after being disqualified from running 2019 rural ordinary election, 2 December 2018
 
Reporter: (on whether returning officer’s decision is reasonable, whether he is worried about his political career and whether he will take any legal actions)

Chu: Well, first of all, in my previous letter to the returning officer, I stated clearly that he does not have the right for political right based on the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law and the judgment of election petition of Chan Ho-tin. He did not reply a single word on this particular issue. And secondly, I want to tell my fellow citizens that the problem right now, or the political censorship right now, is not only … one needs to declare not supporting HK independence, but one also needs to reject the right of other people’s freedom of speech in order to gain a right to run this rural representative election. I think this is absurd and it is in violation of the Basic Law. It also signifies a very dangerous trend of political censorship, among not only participants of election but fellow citizens. Concerning my political career, at this stage, I will continue to be a legislator to serve the Hong Kong citizens. And I will seize any chance and any role within the democratic campaign to contribute in this common cause.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Ching Wing See: This is What You Asked For

Ching Wing See: This is What You Asked For
Translated by Gordon, written by Ching Wing See
Original: https://www.facebook.com/Cemetery.News.page/photos/a.729801777127442/2132354740205465/? 

This morning, some people have been mourning over the loss of Lee Cheuk-yan in the by-election, claiming it as “the fall of Hong Kong”. Meanwhile, some commentary claimed that localist opinion leaders (such as myself) have been the worst, as we advocated for a “scorched-earth”/”kamikaze voting” strategy and dissuaded voters from supporting pan-democrat candidates, resulting in the loss.
What are the facts? There are several of them. For starters, in new public housing estates such as Tak Long and Kai Ching, Lee Cheuk-yan yielded way fewer votes than Chan Hoi-yan, who was backed by CCP’s propaganda machine and election manipulation mechanism, which means that the gerrymandering done by the Liaison Office and Hong Kong Government has been effective. As pan-dems such as Lee himself welcomed Chinese immigrants with open arms and advocated for their access to public housing, the situation today is but the result of what they had previously planted, and has nothing to do with others.
Secondly, the mechanism for pan-democrats’ campaign propaganda has come to an end. On the election day, 3 newspapers voiced their support for Chan, much like what the Apple Daily would do for Lee, but due to the difference in the make-up of readers (and let’s not bother to discuss those of Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po), Apple Daily failed to operate like Oriental Daily. Oriental’s day-to-day coverage on small government handouts and vulnerable groups, as well as their mocking of university students, all appeal to the aesthetics and ideologies of HK’s blue-collar workers. Whereas to assume all blue-collar are pro-establishment would be a slippery slope, it is, however, an easy job for Oriental Daily to lead the masses into hating a self-aggrandizing and incompetent union leader. Despite the fact that Apple Daily readers are also the most vocal ones to interact on the Internet and can hardly be manipulated by media, Apple Daily wouldn’t stop rooting for unpresentable candidates. No matter how decent they seem at first, Apple’s Choices either slowly fade into oblivion, like Joshua Wong, or are simply an embarrassment to start with, such as Alvin Yeung. To put forward candidates like such almost amounts to announcing the death of the campaign in the entire election. Some pan-dems, such as Longhair Leung, even went to the depth as to provoke and taunt undecided voters. Such electoral suicide reflects pan-dems’ complacency and refusal to learn.
Thirdly, these politicians are unbearably annoying to start with to the point they almost call for a beating. Both Lee and Frederick Fung were sellouts to HK people on various political issues, and they fail to manifest any passion and dedication in their day-to-day community service. These numerous notorious incidents have been deeply embedded in our memories. As the colloquial term say it, the reason why we “vote with tearing eyes” is because even their usual supporters find them simply unpalatable. If a political sector who needs to run for campaigns have run out of choices but old useless candidates, then it’s simply announcing its doom and demise, especially during the times where the youth struggle to find a place and are at odds with useless old bums. As they approach retirement age, instead of competing with youngsters and embarrassing themselves, how about being supportive to youth and taking up mentoring roles?
Lastly, if one seeks help, one should remain humble, especially for politicians, whose role is but to appeal to the masses. They need to stop bickering with voters; otherwise they might end up seeking employment service themselves.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Hong Kong Didn’t Even Show up in Pence’s Speech: Whose Fault Is This?

Hong Kong Didn't Even Show up in Pence's Speech: Whose Fault Is This?
Translated by Gordon, written by Lewis Loud
Original: Hong Kong Didn’t Even Show up in Pence’s Speech: Whose Fault Is This? 


Mike Pence, Vice President of the US, Source of photo: Internet
Mike Pence, the Vice-President of the United States, delivered a stinging speech about China at the prestigious Hudson Institute, with every paragraph pinpointing at every flaw of China. Starting off by retelling the story where the US has supported China for the last century, the speech depicts China’s betrayal amidst and despite the US’ benevolence; as the speech unfolds, it sounds as if the US is giving an ultimatum to China before launching a full-out attack. This U-turn of policy bears a striking resemblance to what was laid down in Michael Pillsbury’s book: The Hundred-Year Marathon.

What's more unsettling is that, whereas Pence's speech did mention many countries, Hong Kong (HK) was completely left out of it. While it is true that US-HK Policy Act still remains in effect, such is no guarantee of peace during turbulent times like these. Today, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) is facing political oppression from the HKSAR government, as Financial Times journalist and FCC Vice President Victor Mallet’s working visa has been rejected, as a payback for hosting a talk by Andy Chan, Chairman of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP). The act of terminating of Mallet’s visa amounts to sending him in exile. The HKSAR Government, by its conduct, revealed the fact that Hong Kong is no longer a free port nor an international metropolis, but instead “another Chinese city”. China has been in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law for a long time, and such conduct has been understood by the US. Sooner or later, if not already the case, HK will be seen as an accomplice of China, and there would be no way we can stay out of it once the US decides it’s payback time.

Just a month ago, HKNP wrote to President Trump, claiming that HK had suffered a total loss of its autonomy, thus asking the US to review US-HK Policy Act, as well as to revoke HK and China’s respective WTO memberships. Back then, quite a lot of criticisms came from the political and business sectors, saying that this would send HK to its demise. On the other hand, Alan Leong, a senior member of the pan-democrats, issued a high-profile rebuttal through Apple Daily, stating his disagreement over the claim that HK has suffered a total loss of autonomy, and claimed that HKers should “persuade” the Chinese Communist Party to act according to Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law…

As we can never tell whether Leong's seeming nveté was genuine, there is little need to comment such an act. Given, however, that the pan-democrats have occupied so many seats in the LegCo, Victor Mallet’s incident is in turn a reflection for what they have achieved so far amidst such political reality: ZERO.

Let us look deeper into it. The US’ grievance over China stems from China’s intellectual property theft and breach of trade regulations. While taking advantage of international trade, China maintains its shady connections with enemies of the international community, such as Iran and North Korea, and HK has played an pivotal role as an intermediary. The reason why HK can intermediate between the West and these shady links is not that HK is particularly brilliant, but because of the differential treatment it receives from the international community and, in other words, their belief in the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine.

The international community has now realized that their tolerance is the root cause for HK’s infiltration of the international trade order, and so it’s not hard to imagine how HK will be treated by the international community in the near future. For example, as China has instilled a credit system to spy on and control their citizens, they would need to import spy cameras, for which HK is the transport hub. When the West has imposed an embargo on sensitive materials to China due to the outbreak of human rights crisis in regions like Xinjiang, there is no way Hong Kong can stay out of the embargo list. In another example, having breached trade regulations by doing business with Iran, ZTE had to accept direct management by the US to avoid going bust altogether. We will see HK receiving similar punishment very soon.

Moreover, the trade of raw materials to and from North Korea, as well as money laundering, were all done through more than 160 HK’s shell companies with North Korean background; selling oil to North Korea also involved HK shipping companies.

Void as it might seem, human rights remain a powerful pretext for certain actions. In 2017, German firearm manufacturer Heckler & Koch suddenly refused to sell MP5 submachine guns to the HK Police Force, as the German government had made a requirement in 2015 that all firearm manufacturers must assess the buyer’s level of corruption and democracy before selling, due to the worries that these firearms would be used by dictatorships to oppress their people.
Another less obvious reason for this is that the West is worried about leakage of sensitive and strategic materials, such as weapons, as well as steppers that are used to manufacture CPUs, into countries like Iran or China, through the help of intermediaries. An experienced intermediary, it is no wonder that HK is becoming less and less popular amongst the international community.
How did the HKers respond to this, then? Elites like Alan Leong would never stop preaching the same old drivel, claiming that the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine remains intact, and that HKers stand the same common ground of democracy, freedom and human rights with the free world, and therefore the differential treatment ought to continue. Nice as they might seem, foreign politicians, of course, have their own agendas. Whereas democracy and freedom are but an empty promise, conflict of interest is the real deal. As HK moves from a free city to an accomplice to China’s dirty work, the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine stops being the glory of the world, but a backdoor to the political and economic order of the world.
As a backdoor is a gateway through which a system is invaded, how would any knowing computer engineer not try to block it?
All these years, the politicians who tried to lobby in the US put all their emphasis on the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine. From a Western perspective, isn’t this some sort of circus act all these years? On one hand, the West knows HK has become China’s handyman and is doing damage to the world order; whereas on the other, they keep hearing these blokes from HK emphasizing on how high-degree autonomy they enjoy and how the One-Country-Two-Systems promise remains intact. “Is this a joke?”
Technically and factually speaking, HK IS China’s handyman. If HKers want the free world to help maintain the One-Country-Two-System promise on one hand, AND want to keep the differential treatment such as low tariffs and qualification recognition on the other, how would that be different from asking the free world to grab a knife and stab themselves? In fact, the more HKers emphasize on the existence of the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine, and the less HKers are willing to admit the fact that it has been defeated and that it has surrendered, the more would HK register as a sleeper cell on the radar of the international community.
To maintain the willful belief that the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine as the common ground between HKers and the international community, mainstream HKers have refused to look at the reality and, essentially, have been living a lie for all these years. The only concern for the West is this: Aren’t you guys all involved in hacking the order of international trade? You took all the privileges given to you by the international community, hacked into the system as a handyman, THEN came back to us, demanding we tolerate you despite all the damages you’ve done, AND continue giving you the differential treatment as well?
It is self-centred for the HKers to only want their business and professional services (also businesses) to continue to foster. From a foreign perspective, as China and HK have successfully merged as a whole, the denying of the merge and demanding of differential treatment means HKers only want to enjoy all the rights without fulfilling any obligations. Just like China.
What do we have to do in the face of such a hostile environment outside? For starters we need “civil diplomats”. Opinion leaders need to stop living in denial, and need to plead the truth to the international community, that HK has completely fallen and its autonomy has suffered a total loss; that HKers, however, like the international community, are victims of the One-Country-Two-Systems lie as well as the Chinese tyranny; and that all the damages done to the international community had been done by China, hijacking the name of HK. We HKers need to free ourselves and cast off the yoke of bondage known as the game of elections, and stop telling foreigners all we wanted was the status quo. Embracing the status quo means HK WILL be punished alongside China.
HKers need to sever the ties with China as soon as possible, whereby we at least need another way of civil diplomacy, to tell the international community and our allies our true opinion: HKers do NOT wish to be an accomplice for China’s attempt to dominate the world, which is why HKers ardently seek true autonomy through independence. This is not only to benefit HKers themselves. It is only when HKers obtain true autonomy and set boundaries can HK stop being the threat to the international order.
HKer’s primary perception of the world is that freedom and democracy have to be mentioned hand-in-hand with the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine. At the end of the day, HKers didn’t want to offend China and would like to remain as China’s handyman on one hand, meanwhile also wanting to remain as an ally of the West on the other. The fact that China took an action against a foreign journalist means that it has used HK as a pawn. The colonial master known as China has decided to sacrifice HK, and HK, as a subordinate, never had a chance to make a difference even if it chooses to side with its master. As we refused to choose whether to jump off the sinking ship or to remain on board, we’d still have to face the fact that the ship IS going to sink anyway.
The problem for HK is not that it doesn’t want to side with the West; it’s that it doesn’t get the opportunity to do so. As Pence made his speech, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen immediately thanked the US for having the “moral courage” to speak up for Taiwan. Ties between US and Taiwan has been increasingly close these years, and an “Abandon-HK-Keep-Taiwan” policy has almost reached a consensus.
It is virtually impossible for HK to safeguard its own interest and values with its own existing system, and with the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine, it renders it virtually impossible to seek help from foreign allies as well. To respect the One-Country-Two-Systems doctrine is to let China do whatever they like, and HK is doomed to be the backdoor China uses to hack the rest of the world.
5 months before, Alan Leong discussed HK politics at Asia Society, and all of a sudden he started to defend China (footage starting at 13:54), claiming that if the US had believed China to be in breach of the trade protocols, they should seek to resolve their differences within the framework of WTO, and they shouldn’t expect China to play by the rules if US had started a trade war, because by doing so would make China steer further away from democratic values. To Americans, this act is but defending this rogue regime. Didn’t you want democracy and autonomy for starters?
Fast forward to 5 months later. Pence made a stinging speech about all the crimes China had committed against the US and the world as a whole, including, on a domestic level, suppressing human rights and freedom of speech, and on an international level, influencing American elections, stealing confidential information from American companies, forced technology transfer, using “debt-trap diplomacy” against Belt-and-Road countries, and militarizing the South China Sea, to name a few. NONE of these conflicts can be resolved within the WTO framework, and as the US has made clear that they do not intend to do so, as they are seeking to establish multi-lateral trade relations anew.
Pence’s speech has rendered Leong’s defense a joke, as it has shown the extent how HK politics has lost touch with reality.
In his speech, Pence did mention Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, North and South Korea, South China Sea, as well as countries in the Belt and Road Initiative, leaving HK behind. Obviously, it is because HK has been so pro-China for such a long time that it stops showing up on the radar of the international community. Starting from Martin Lee fighting for the US to treat China as a most favoured nation after the Tiananmen massacre, to Alan Leong’s defense for China at Asia Society, HK politics has remained as pedantic as ever.
Whereas we never expected anything radical to come out of these politicians in fancy suits whose main concern is getting elected; had they stayed distant from China and treated them like an adversary (even if it was just a pretense), it would have made a huge difference in perception. Few people could tell the difference between defending HK and defending China. When they beg the US for their mercy to spare HK in the trade war, while ALSO saying good things about China at the same time, isn’t this revealing of their true desire to remain as a two-faced handyman, but with different wordings?
Then, if the international community forgets about HK, how would this be China’s responsibility at all? It is this entire generation of HKers who couldn’t make sense of their own identity and position or, worse yet, deliberate two-faced free-riders that exemplify the old saying “those who insult themselves shall be insulted likewise”. As we enter a time of a black-and-white, all-or-nothing showdown between China and the US, being two-faced means getting slapped in both.